81% of workers using AI are more productive. Here's how to implement it

A survey shows using AI at work boosts productivity and revenue, but not without challenges. Here's how you can use AI in your team.
Written by Vala Afshar, Contributing Writer
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According to a survey conducted by Slack's Workforce Lab, AI use among desk workers has increased 23% since January 2024 and 60% since September 2023 -- and the data shows it's accelerating productivity. 

The survey polled over 10,000 global desk workers, defined as being "employed full-time (30 or more hours per week)" in mostly executive, senior, middle, and junior management roles, and who "work with data, analyze information or think creatively," per Workforce Lab's methodology. 

Responses showed that 81% of AI users said AI tools boosted both their productivity and the quality of their work. The results also showed that workers who use AI report higher scores on other metrics of employee engagement, including:

  • +13% Level of access to relevant people, files, and resources
  • +18% Work-life balance
  • +23% Ability to manage stress
  • +24% Overall satisfaction with work
  • +25% Flexibility
  • +29% more likely to say they feel highly passionate about their work

Other key takeaways from the survey reveal that: 

  • Executive urgency to incorporate AI tools into business operations has increased sevenfold since January 2024 and is now a top concern, surpassing inflation or the broader economy. 
  • 73 percent of desk workers say that AI hype is warranted and the technology "will have a big impact." Those who have used AI tools are even more convinced.
  • Enthusiasm is growing: today, 47% of global desk workers express enthusiasm for AI to handle job tasks (compared with 42% at the start of the year). 
  • The desire to use AI at work varies by age and gender. "The youngest workers show the most enthusiasm for AI, with 55% of workers ages 18 to 29 saying they're excited for AI and automation to handle parts of their work, compared with 33% of workers over age 60," the survey explains.

Also: Do employers want AI skills or AI-enhanced skills?

Research shows that AI can do a lot more than improve your productivity. Companies that apply generative artificial intelligence (AI) to customer-related initiatives can expect to achieve 25% higher revenue after five years compared to companies only focused on productivity, according to research from Accenture

Looking to personalize at scale and boost efficiency, marketers rank AI adoption as their top priority and challenge. The latest 2024 State of Marketing report revealed that one in three marketing teams have implemented AI in their workflows.


AI fast fact: AI adoption, growth trajectories, and productivity benefits. 


However, the Slack survey also found that two-thirds of desk workers still have not tried AI tools. While nearly half of global office workers expressed enthusiasm about using AI, 93% do not consider AI outputs completely trustworthy for work-related tasks.

Another finding shows AI could help desk workers minimize wasted time on busy work. People spend a third of their day on tasks that are "not meaningful to their job," the survey reports, such as unnecessary meetings, low-value emails, and excessive paperwork or data entry. 

Also: What is a Chief AI Officer, and how do you become one?

But instead of spending the time AI saves on "strategic or high-value activities like learning and skill building, employees are likely to spend 37% more of their time on routine administrative tasks," the survey finds. This suggests a missed opportunity to take full advantage of the bandwidth AI frees up. 

Slack Workforce Lab

As the survey found, 64% of desk workers experience burnout at least once a month, and 30% do not feel passionate about their job -- a problem that the research suggests AI adoption could address by offloading parts of the worker experience. 


AI Training matters - Those who are trained to use AI are up to 19x times more likely to report that AI is improving their productivity.


How to implement AI at work

The survey found several factors that impact AI adoption at work: 

  1. AI training. Those who are trained to use AI are up to 19 times more likely to report that it's improving their productivity. They are also seven times more likely to trust AI tools to help them at work. 
  2. Trust from leadership. "Desk workers who feel trusted by their employers are 94% more likely to have tried AI for work-related tasks, and they're also more trusting of AI's accuracy and reliability," the survey states. 
  3. Confidence and reliability.  Only 15% of workers strongly agree that they have the education and training necessary to use AI effectively. Context and better information could help workers embrace this technology in their work. 

There are many benefits to integrating AI tools into desk employees' workflows. Successful adoption of any new powerful technology requires the right company culture, talent, processes, and training. All AI projects begin as data projects -- a data-driven culture that values trust and shared stakeholder success will ultimately determine implementation at the speed of need. 

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